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"Songs for Joplin" benefit concert at the Gillioz

Piano Keyboard

The Gillioz Theatre in downtown Springfield is hosting a special concert Saturday night (June 4) to benefit the Joplin Red Cross tornado relief fund and the Joplin High School Music Department. KSMU's Randy Stewart talked to the concert's organizer.

ERIC EICHENBERGER: The high school building was demolished… the Fine Arts Hall where the Choir Room, Band Room, orchestra rehearsal and the Drama Department is housed… the auditorium, the entire roof is collapsed in on the auditorium. The gymnasium is destroyed. And they have a Technology Center that provides trade skills for a lot of students, and that was obliterated.RANDY: That’s Eric Eichenberger, choral director at Joplin High School. His department sustained heavy losses in the recent tornado.ERIC: There’s water damage with everything—all of our electronic keyboards, all of the electronic equipment that we have. The Choir Room, you know, it’s just rubble piled on rubble, and the grand piano’s kind of chipped away. The Band Room took a significant toll—the instruments. I don’t think there’s any chance of recovering any of those.RANDY: As well as sheet music, scores.ERIC: And yeah, our whole—scores, our volume of music that we’ve had for—you know, they’ve been working on that for 25 years, and that’s going to be hard to replace.RANDY: Eric Eichenberger lives in the Springfield area, attends Westminster Presbyterian Church, and commutes to Joplin to work.ERIC: Because I was removed from the situation, I felt a little bit helpless, like I didn’t really know HOW to help. So my wife suggested that I could call some friends and we could put together a “small” concert! And then it kind of snowballed from there. I contacted some people and had a really overwhelming response from my friends in town that perform, that sing and are musicians. And we decided we might need to house it at a bigger space rather than just my church, and the Gillioz was kind enough to provide their space.RANDY: The concert is called “Songs for Joplin,” and starts at 7:00pm Saturday evening (June 4 2011) at the Gillioz. Among the participants are about 25 members of the Joplin High School choir; members of Central High School Choir from here in Springfield, directed by Alberta Smith; the cast of Springfield Little Theatre’s “Children of Eden” and the YES Troupe; Leah Hamilton Jenkins; faculty and student instrumentalists from the MSU Music Department; various acoustic singer-songwriters; and more. Admission at the door will be $10.00.ERIC: A lot of folks coming to contribute—it’ll be a real blessing for us. Anybody that’s not able to attend the concert, my church, Westminster Presbyterian, has been receiving donations to go to this even, and so those can be sent to Westminster Presbyterian.RANDY: Eric Eichenberger, Joplin High School Choir Director and organizer of “Songs for Joplin,” a benefit concert tomorrow evening (Saturday June 4 2011) at 7:00 at the Gillioz Theatre in Springfield.